Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has criticized a speech delivered by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a UN meeting on Tuesday in which he called on world leaders to take measures against the faith-based Gülen movement, saying that Erdoğan’s speech only served to promote the Gülen movement.
Speaking at a meeting of his party on Thursday, Kılıçdaroğlu said as a citizen and leader of the main opposition party, he was ashamed of the speech Erdoğan delivered at the UN General Assembly.
“It was not clear whether he was speaking to world leaders or muhtars [neighborhood heads]. It became a meeting in which the [Gülen] community was the subject. He introduced the community to the world, he made it famous. If the community had worked 20 years, it would not have achieved what the president has done [for its reputation],” said the CHP leader.
Speaking during the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Erdoğan said the movement had threatened Turkey’s national security by plotting a July 15 coup attempt that killed more than 270 people.
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the US and is the inspiration of the Gülen movement, a civil society initiative promoting worldwide interfaith dialogue, peace and tolerance, has repeatedly denied Erdoğan’s accusations and offered to return to Turkey if any concrete evidence that demonstrates his involvement in the coup attempt is brought before an international commission that would investigate the plotters of the coup.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and President Erdoğan have also designated the Gülen movement a terrorist organization and have launched a widespread crackdown on suspected members since the failed coup.